For years now, the sworn enemies of Christ have been banning Christian efforts to help homosexuals. The low-information voting public went along with the banning, when the Elites bothered to give them the opportunity, because if there’s anything worse than condemning homosexuals to a life of disease, degeneracy and child molestation, it must surely be offering them a way out.
‘Pray Away’ Shows How Conversion Therapy Preys On The Queer Community
By Amber Leventry, 13 August 2021
Pray Away, the Netflix documentary directed by Kristine Stolakis, takes us behind the curtain and pulpit of conversion therapy detailing how the practice started and then grew to dangerous heights before being denounced as abusive and ineffective.
An unqualified act of libel and propaganda even before we get into the meat of it, just by looking at Stolakis’ biography.
Kristine Stolakis is a director whose films examine how power, politics, and prejudice unfold in real people’s lives. She is the director of Lamplighter Films.
She’s not a film maker. She’s a political activist who makes films.
Her debut feature PRAY AWAY is an unflinching look at the history and legacy of the “pray the gay away” or ex-gay movement, and is a Multitude Films production in association with Blumhouse. It was invited to premiere in competition at the 2020 Tribeca Film Festival, and to screen at the Telluride Film Festival and Hot Docs before the festivals’ cancellation due to COVID-19. PRAY AWAY is supported by the Catapult Film Fund, Tribeca Film Institute, Hartley Film Foundation, Chicken and Egg Pictures, Sundance Institute, SFFilm, and Cinereach. In 2020, Kristine was named one of DOC NYC’s “40 Under 40.”
Her directorial debut THE TYPIST (Hot Docs 2015) cracks open the untold story of a closeted Korean War veteran tasked with writing the military dishonorable discharges of outed LGBTQ seamen. It was released by KQED and is currently a Vimeo Staff Pick. WHERE WE STAND (DOC NYC 2015) chronicles a group of Mormon women fighting for equal rights [read: ordination as clergy] inside their church, and was released by The Atlantic and nominated for a Student BAFTA. She also produced ATTLA (Independent Lens 2019), a co-production of ITVS and Vision Maker Media.
There you have it. Her entire history as a film maker is as an anti-Christ activist championing what we Jesus Freaks would call Original Sin. Meanwhile, she has nothing negative to say about the disastrously unhealthy and unnatural lifestyle known as homosexuality. Choosing a gender has consequences somewhat more severe than choosing a sports team… but why let facts intrude where they are not welcome?
Her filmmaking approach is shaped by her background in anthropology, journalism, politics, and community art. She holds an MFA in Documentary Film from Stanford University and a BA in Cultural Anthropology from New York University, and has received further training at UC Berkley’s Investigative Reporting Program. She has taught film production at Stanford University and University of San Francisco.
Sounds like an impartial discoverer of timeless truth, yessir! Also sounds like about $200k in student debt but she did get several big grants, too.
Pray Away, as in “pray the gay away,” highlights the former leaders of the movement who were the faces of Living Hope Ministries and Exodus International. The documentary also follows a person who claims to have detransitioned after finding faith and God. He is now on a mission to convert and “save” other queer people. Pray Away was laughable at times (not because of the content, but because of how hard people were working to fool themselves and others) but heartbreaking from start to end. The hurt was palpable, and the pain opened old wounds in me I thought had healed.
On that note, her other biography.
‘Pray Away’ is a new Netflix documentary from director Kristine Stolakis that covers the subject of conversion therapy. Specifically, the movie features former leaders from organizations like Exodus International and Living Hope who have renounced their past efforts, after realizing the harm that conversion therapy causes. Kristine Stolakis recently sat down with us to talk about her movie.
Moviefone: The movie’s very powerful. What inspired you to tackle this subject?
Kristine Stolakis: Yeah, my uncle went through conversion therapy, actually, after he came out as trans as a child. So, he went through conversion therapy during a time when every therapist was a conversion therapist. This is in the ’60s, before being queer had been declassified as some kind of mental disorder. What followed his time in conversion therapy was really poor mental health. So, he struggled with anxiety, depression, suicidal ideation, addiction, obsessive compulsive disorder, all things I’ve learned are very common for people who go through this world. And he passed away unexpectedly before I went to film school, actually. So, I decided that my first feature would be about the conversion therapy movement, more broadly.
Sounds more like a victim of homosexual child molestation trying to process the abuse than a “coming out” followed by harmful, religious-sexual indoctrination, which is this movie’s accusation towards Christ.
Stolakis demonstrates a reason why women make bad leaders. She used her debut to wash family laundry in the public eye. There was no chance that she honestly investigated the pros and cons of conversion therapy… here’s the QED:
I started to do research and what I found that really surprised me is that the vast majority of conversion therapy organizations are actually run by LGBTQ individuals themselves who claim that they have changed, and they know how to teach others to do the same. And it was understanding that this is really a movement of hurt people hurting other people, internalized hatred, internalized homophobia, internalized transphobia wielded outward, that really helped me understand my uncle’s hope. It was a very dark hope. It was a misguided hope, but it was hope nonetheless, that change was possible and that it was around the corner. And then, of course, his devastation when he could not change.
And then as I went on to make the film, we also weaved in the story of a survivor, of someone who primarily experienced conversion therapy from the point of view of a participant to ground the movie. And what is undeniable, which is the movement, deep harm, and trauma. So, that’s the genesis for how the film came to be. And a bit about how we approached the subject matter.
She made this movie to champion her uncle overcoming Christianity to live a celebrated life of unrepentant sodomy. It’s good that she wishes her uncle well… but becoming a lesbian feminist Christ-hater was not the way to do that.
MF: I saw that you have a background studying cultural anthropology. It seems like that really works to your advantage, because you hear, for instance, from Julie Rodgers, “This is where I went to meet other people like me.”
Stolakis: Yes, yes. So, my undergraduate degree was in cultural anthropology and I definitely flirted with going down the route of becoming an anthropologist and getting my PhD and writing books. And I decided that I could make more of an impact through working in media.
But what I took with me was a real belief in a core concept of anthropology, which is called deep hanging out, the idea of really spending time in the world that you are filming. And when I spent a lot of time in this world, something that was very clear is that, and this might sound confusing if you are not familiar with this world, but for a lot of people, initially joining an ex-LGBTQ group, or participating in, you might not call it a conversion therapy peer support group, but some sort of conversion therapy peer support group at your church that might be called a Bible study on homosexuality, can actually provide a sense of community and belonging. And as time goes on, you learn that that belonging comes at a cost. And that is the dark part of this, is that you actually are not being fully accepted. You’re being accepted on the condition that you will believe that being queer is a sickness and a sin, and that you will commit to changing in some way.
Yes, that’s Christianity. That’s Christianity for EVERYBODY. Evil is like ice cream, we all have a favorite flavor. If your problem isn’t sodomy then it’s greed or addiction or impulse control or narcissism or SOMETHING.
This might be a good point to say this: I don’t like the conversion therapy approach, either. The best way to break a habit is to replace it with a new habit. The best way to break alcoholism is to stop hanging around the bar and your drinking buddies, not going to Al-Anon. The best way to break a habit of sodomy is to stop obsessing over it, stop being around men that you know are attracted to you, and immerse yourself in other interests.
You will probably never be healed, of sodomy or anything else, on this side of Eternity. Becoming perfect is not the point of Christianity. The goal is to confront the evil inside you, learn to resist it, learn to trust upon God to make perfect what is lacking in your life. It is a hard road but God promised the trip will be worth it.
Stolakis’ uncle is in a good place if he kept up the fight to the end. But Kristin being atheist, can see only the mortal struggle and not the spiritual reward.
While I disapprove the conversion therapies of the 20th Century, I acknowledge that their hearts were in the right place. The homosexual community demanding therapy bans does not. They seek to ban the concept, not just the current effort, because homosexuals don’t reproduce. They recruit. Which means they dare not allow Christians to recruit their members back to the narrow path of self-discipline.
Let me say that again for the slow class: once you identify as homosexual the first time, even if you’re a prepubescent child saying what his mother told him to say, THEY WILL NOT ALLOW YOU TO CHANGE YOUR MIND LATER.
Conversion therapy grew out of church basements. Gay congregation members found community with others struggling with their sexuality. The struggle existed because their church and people they loved told them they were living in sin and needed to change. They didn’t have the internal and external resources needed to look around and say,” Hey, how about we accept each other and ourselves because clearly we’re not alone. Instead they resigned themselves to a truth and a lie they were telling themselves. I was ostracized and rejected too. We can help each other ‘get better’ through prayer and Jesus Christ.”
Hence my objection to conversion therapy. Being put in the homo class is a terrible way to stop identifying as homo. Instead, be around normal men with normal sexualities, and allow yourselves to be influenced into normal behaviors.
But most Protestant churches have decades-long, ingrained ideas that all you need are Bible Studies emphasizing the relevant Scriptures. That’s not a Sola Scriptura trap… that’s a “pastor knows all, can’t trust ordinary men to be around ordinary men without his supervision” trap. I swear, half of a typical church’s problems would disappear if it hosted a weekly poker night with no women allowed.
Try it, you pastors who read my blog. Weekly… poker… night. In this era of lockdowns and mask mandates, that would really help out us ordinary, isolated, unwanted, humiliated laymen.
The saddest and most frustrating piece of Pray Away, and by extension conversion therapy, was the exploitation of people’s basic desire to be accepted and loved. The fear of Christ, of being alone, and then finding community through the church so you wouldn’t be alone even though it meant you’d still be still closeted and in pain is the awful cycle that so many people experienced and are still being subjected to through conversion therapy.
Will her next movie be the suffering and loss of community caused by lockdown mandates?
Conversion therapy isn’t just believing God can and will make you straight and cisgender. It’s based on the idea that someone who identifies as queer or transgender has a mental illness that can be cured. Neither is true.
That was Science, not Christianity.
Conversion therapy doesn’t work, but it does cause harm. A peer-reviewed study published in the American Journal of Public Health and reported by The Trevor Project found that queer youth who were subjected to conversion were two times as likely to attempt suicide and 2.5 times as likely to attempt suicide multiple times over the last year.
She says “subjected to conversion” as if we Christians incarcerated them in a reeducation gulag. That’s what our enemies do, not us.
This is what finally caused Exodus to close its doors. In 2013, leaders of the group apologized to the LGBTQ community — a community that they were a part of. In what should be a shock to no one, many of the leaders of the group were queer and eventually came out (for a second time, in most cases) and have tried to make amends for perpetuating a myth that has killed too many people.
It was difficult to watch the former leaders tell their stories in Pray Away; they were victims too, but their tears felt too little, too late.
I fault them for giving up but not failing. Backsliding was inevitable. A comparable example is the anti-porn movement. While I agree that porn isn’t healthy, I disagree that it’s a lethal evil and descent into serial killing (a position of James Dobson’s). The way to end porn addiction is fathers raising their daughters to be young wives, not haranguing the young men every day that 1. Porn is lots of fun and 2. Never Never Never!!!! That just ain’t how humans work. Without a healthy habit to replace the unhealthy habit, any progress will be limited at best.
But Stolakis would not be happy with the Christian conclusion of “okay, let’s try again and something else this time”.
I was visiting my mother and her live-in boyfriend the summer between my junior and senior year of college. She and I were on the front porch, and her boyfriend and the girl I was dating at the time were inside. My mother used the opportunity to harass me about my need for a boyfriend and her hopes for me to find a good Christian man. She wanted me to find a better man than my father was to her, and hoped I knew there were better relationship models than the one I witnessed between herself and my father. She badgered and pushed until I told her I was gay. I didn’t want or need a man or husband. I liked (and still do like) women. “I know. Bobby knew. He used to be gay too and told me you’re gay.”
Dayumn, that paragraph is a month’s worth of Red Pills! Like a mosquito at a nudist colony, I don’t know where to begin.
I knew from a very early age that being gay was “wrong.” I heard it from my church and family before I came out. And when I was dragged out of the closet, the people who were supposed to love me the most rejected me in the name of Christianity and an unseen figure in the sky.
My partner is right; I have managed it well, but I have a lot of anger that needs to be let out or converted to something else.
No surprise here. Her education had “Fuck you, Jesus!” written all over it. While she’s upfront about pressure from Christian demands of normality, methinks that the real damage was the hypocrisy of a mother with a live-in boyfriend telling Stolakis that she needed to do the Christian thing. I cannot explore her Daddy Issues without more info but Mommy openly slandering Daddy like she reportedly did was quite suggestive, too.
I think I have unresolved anger issues.
Now a jihad masquerading as entertainment on Netflix. But your fatal mistake, Solakis, was that in the midst of all your roiling feelings, you forgot to ask if God actually does exist. You merely concluded that you don’t like Him.